I wish I could remember the precise moment the world began to replace the innocent joy of my body
with feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy.

I must have been in middle school when I began to feel self-conscious about my hands even though they
served a profound functional purpose in my everyday life. I longed for my palms to be softer and my
fingers to be less wrinkly. I was self-conscious of a handshake and fearful of what a boy might think of
me if he were to hold my rough hands.

I suppose vanity and covetousness were part of the problem. However, at the root of my
discontentment and fear was that I did not yet know the One who lovingly gifted me these hands.

In 2009 my husband and I conceived our first son. My pregnancy humbled my body physically as I
suffered chronic kidney stones and ultimately went into preterm labor at 35 weeks. Our baby boy
soared into the world with strength and confidence however, as a preemie, his needs were more
complicated than I had expected, as was my post-partum recovery. I floundered through early
motherhood as I failed to measure up to my unrealistic expectations.

I know now that God was allowing me to struggle in my pride and as he dispelled the lie that self-
reliance and independency were a viable way to live an abundant life. When our son was about seven
months old a student of mine invited me to her church for a teacher supply drive. That divine
appointment would ultimately put a Bible into my hands and ignite a curiosity in me to attend church.

God began to dispel decades of unbelief. In November of 2010 at the age of 29, I surrendered my life to
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and made the choice to follow Him wherever He called. The Father, in
His grace, adopted me as His beloved daughter (Ephesians 1:4-6).

Everything changed . . . including what I thought about my hands.

Today when I look at my weathered hands etched with calloused palms and carved with deep lines upon
my knuckles, I am reminded of my true lineage. I fondly think of the Potter who painstakingly formed
me in my mother’s womb (Isaiah 64:8). He had a great purpose for these hands.

They have held firmly the hands of a faithful husband for sixteen years, most recently at his ICU bedside
post stroke. When his hands could not function, God gave me able hands to assist him. These hands
have had the honor of caressing and nurturing two newborn babies. They have cupped the chin of a
three-year-old orphan in Hong Kong who found comfort in the kindness of my nonverbal gesture. My
hands touching her face would be our first physical connection as mother and daughter.

God has allowed my hands to pat three children’s backs to slumber. They have wiped runny noses,
changed messy diapers, written prayers, scripted lunchbox notes, plucked guitar strings, driven
countless hours, tied shoes, thrown balls, cleaned dishes, folded clothes, and were even used to type
the very message you are reading. Other times, my hands have simply rested in a posture of surrender
and gratitude to the One who made them.

Today will you join me in thanking God for the gift of our unique bodies – purposefully designed and
wonderfully made?! (Psalm 139:14)

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It happens in such a noninvasive way I barely realize it until I’m 20 minutes into scrolling…the moment my mind isn’t stimulated enough or wanders off looking for an escape, I find it processing the images that flood my Instagram feed. It feels noninvasive, but really it’s more invasive than anything. Because the images I see are the lives and stories I compare myself to, and because I find myself observing so often, it reaches beyond a normal environment of comparison and into the walls of my home. Comparison happens in my hands at the end of my fingertips. The apparent success that others are championing finds its way into my heart and bleeds through every block of accomplishment that has been a part of building me. I should double tap and give it a “like”, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Mixed feelings of wondering why I am where I am and how she got where she is weighs me down to the point of scrolling even more just to forget why I was scrolling in the first place.

Why do we do it? Seriously, why do we scroll through social media? What is the intention behind it? Because I don’t want to use it as a measuring stick and means of evaluating myself and where God has me verses where He has someone else. Just because she is successful doesn’t mean I’m not. We are two separate people created in two unique ways for two specifically different purposes. She was designed for the plan on her life and I was designed for the plan on mine. When I compare myself to anyone else, it is an unfair comparison. Because I am not meant to what she does and she is not meant to do what I do.

Maybe if we just focused on where we are called to be, so obsessed and fulfilled and consumed with it, we wouldn’t have time to worry if we are where we should be because we would just know. We would know because we’re all there and we sense the impact of what that means. The impact of being all in. If I rest in knowing I am where I’m supposed to be then I can just let her be where she is without feeling the pressure to be there too. And that’s the thing, no one else has those expectations of me. Just me. So, as we scroll through the images that plague our minds and infiltrate our hearts, may we scroll knowing our life isn’t meant to look like theirs. And that’s not only okay, it’s beautiful.

Alexis Judy
Alexis Judy

Lexi Judy is a passionate writer, speaker, and Bible teacher. With a degree in Religion specified in Christian Ministry, Lexi is on staff at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, VA. She has a heart for connecting generations of women and championing the next generation for the cause of Christ. Lexi is the author of Because He Loved Me, a book that walks through her experience with cancer at 16. She also serves on the SBCV Women’s Ministry Strategy Team and core team of bloggers.

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We are so excited to announce: United and TRU’s founder and CEO, Sandra Coates’ book is now available!

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What Is Beauty & How Do You Get It?

My mother was a New York fashion model in the late 1940’s. My daughter is a New York fashion photographer, and I’ve spent my whole life in the beauty business.

I know how to polish “diamonds in the rough,” and I know how to make “plain” people look attractive.

I’ve seen models turn anorexic and almost die. I’ve seen girls who never had a date in high school become covergirls. I’ve seen people with incredible potential go nowhere from a lack of confidence. I’ve seen popular girls enjoy the spotlight… too much.

I also know what it’s like to feel ugly. I was the fat daughter of a beautiful mother. I weighed 290 pounds when I was 16– and eventually peaked at 360 pounds on my 36th birthday.

I know what it’s like to be transformed, by losing 220 pounds and keeping them off for 25 years… through the grace of a God Who helped me, even before I knew His Son.

Here’s the thing about beauty: Everybody’s got it. It’s not fickle, because God’s not fickle. It’s not a certain size, look, weight, hairstyle or outfit. It’s confidence found in Christ. It’s sparkle in your eyes. It’s kindness in your smile. It’s pep in your step.

Yes, polish helps the shine, because beauty can be covered… but the glow is still there, waiting to brighten every place you go.

What I’d like to say to girls reading this post: In God’s Eyes, you’re already a masterpiece. When you begin to see yourself the way God sees you, your own transformation will happen. Your outside will begin to reflect your inside- which reflects Christ. You’ll feel more confident. You’ll radiate.

This isn’t Christian mumbo jumbo. It’s biblical truth, and I offer you some worldly proof. Think about it: You’ve seen girls and ladies others might not call “attractive”, but they’re hanging with the coolest guys. How? They’re confident, and their boyfriends or husbands see them the same way God does.

When you transform your thinking, God will transform both you and your circumstances.

Carey Lewis

Carey Lewis


Carey Lewis is the founder of a world recognized talent development ministry, called Actors, Models & Talent for Christ (AMTC). From 1982-2018, AMTC scouted, coached and launched thousands of performers into film, fashion, music and theatre. Carey has won two Lifetime Achievement Awards for her contributions to the cause of Christ in arts and entertainment. She speaks, counsels and writes daily devotions geared to the media generation, and those called to influence it with light, love and truth. Check her out at careylewis.us or https://www.facebook.com/CareyLewisOfficial/
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Sandra CoatesIʼve always loved fashion. If you know me you know I love thrift stores and hand me downs and can be found quoting, “Donʼt let your clothes rule you.” Call me a rebel, but there is just a thrill of cutting and shaping my wardrobe to fit what looks pretty on me rather than being confined to the rules of how they ‘should be wornʼ.

From the time I can remember I had an eye for it. My mom used to tease me that I was notorious for finding the most expensive item in a store without even trying. Since I was young fashion plates were my jam and keeping an eye on the latest styles and trends was a must for me. I wasnʼt ever the most popular girl. I didnʼt even fit in because I was both extremely tall and overweight, but somehow fashion eased some of that for me. As a young girl one of my favorite events was dressing up in my Nanaʼs fancy tweed skirts, high heels, scarves, and hats. The best part was sitting at her vanity in front of the big oval mirror and opening all the drawers of jewelry box treasures and trying all of them on. As I looked in that mirror at the finished look—my huge clip-on earrings squeezing my earlobes—I remember feeling like a queen. It was magical feeling that free and lovely in this temporary new version of me.

One of the challenges I faced was finding “cool” clothes that fit me. Years back there were not exceptions for my body size or trendy clothing lines for ‘bigger girlsʼ. It was a label I could not escape and led to lots of tears,  anxiety, shame and often wanting to hide at an early age. I had a problem with how my body looked, and it deeply affected how I saw myself. I listened to the culture, and I looked to others for my image. How could I be made in the image of God with a world that didnʼt have a mold for me to fit into? Fashion seemed to help mask the wounded parts and soften the blows of relentless questions about what grade I was really in or why I was so big for my age. Underneath it all, when I really looked at myself in the mirror, I wanted so badly to be someone else. I wanted to be that petite, pretty, confident girl who seemed to feel blissful in her skin and warm the hearts of those around her. At times I felt like I had a ‘diseaseʼ that I just had to live with, and I didnʼt think God cared or could use it for anything good. Good thing I didnʼt know the end.

The questions for all of us become, “What if we dictated fashion as an outward expression of an inward beauty instead of it dictating us? Better yet, what if we could know our unique body type, skin color and style was for a beautiful purpose and live in the comfort of our own skin? What if looking and feeling our best was not only when we got all dressed up or were the ‘perfect sizeʼ but how we felt everyday?”

Many years later, I still love fashion. However, my whole belief system and image of myself is brand new because of a God who was not afraid to walk me thru my shame, insecurity and self loathe. Its a forever dance we play but He never gets tired of me and my whispers of the same doubts. The Bible says “We all with unveiled faces reflect the Lordʼs glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory.” (2 Corinthians 3Z18). There is no distinction of color, size, age, beauty, culture or status.

So if there is truly nothing more beautiful than God and we are called to reflect that beauty, then maybe what the world really needs is what we already have. The Truth is we already possess all the beauty and confidence we need. It has been there since the beginning. If we believe that then maybe—just maybe—we can chose to dictate fashion instead of it defining or dictating us.

-Sandra Coates

Sandra Coates

Sandra Coates

Sandra is a RN and works with women in unplanned pregnancies. She is also a pastor’s wife, women’s ministry leader, speaker and model. She is passionate about every woman knowing her God given beauty and living confident and free. Read more about Sandra.
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